Friday 22 May 2020

Sixth Week of Easter

Word for today
The Gospel of John 16:20-23a

Joy for whom?

The line between loving a person, cherishing him/her and his/her happiness and doing things to please him/her is subtle, very, very subtle. The former are performed out of love, while the latter are performed out of possession. Loving and cherishing are actions that belong to God, while the act of pleasing others belongs to Satan. There is no love in pleasing  others. Love itself is nullified in the act of pleasing others and its only benefit is to inflate one's ego at the expense of one's individual identity and nobility. Jesus knows that if we want to be happy we must deny our ego and the illusions upon which we have tied our tenuous happiness. This may lead to some form of sadness and mental disappointment, a kind of withdrawal from what is ephemeral. Jesus assures us that this suffering is of little importance and insubstantial, not at all comparable to the happiness and peace, the sense of wholeness, well-being and unity with the universe and with life that we can achieve by adhering to His procedures.
Satan behaves  in the exact opposite way.
In order to deceive and destroy us he tries to please us in all our illusions and ephemeral pleasures, and when we have finished all of our fantasies, he tempts us in every possible way to invent new ones. Satan's aim is to please us, to satisfy us, but not to make us happy. His purpose is to make us feel happy without really being happy, to make us feel satisfied even though we are in a state of suspension, to make us
feel pleased without knowing love, to make us strive to please others as we drown in our lack of self-confidence, to make us surrender to ease and comfort without ever experiencing the power and the harmony of the flowing of peace. The procedures of the Gospel for man's happiness are not immediately useful to make us feel good, to make us happy, to satisfy our egos. On the contrary, and to be as clear as possible, Jesus uses the example of the momentary pain experienced during labour, which is immediately followed by the joy at the birth of a new life. In another page of the Gospel, to help us better understand this concept, Jesus uses the example of the choice that each person must make between the narrow door of happiness that leads to life and the large door of pleasure and delight that leads to self destruction. It is clear that Jesus truly loves us and truly desires us to be happy because he has no intention to gratify us, to make us content nor please our ego, even if this means being very unpopular, ridiculed, condemned and violently killed by men. To make someone happy is one of the meanings of the verb love. To please someone is one of the meanings of the verb to possess.
In this reading there is a wonderful, evangelic clarification about the quality of joy, about the kind of happiness that Jesus wants to give us, a feature that is added to the full and complete joy present in other verses. The characteristic of Jesus' joy is this: no one will take your joy away from you. In this verse "no one" is used to translate the adjective oudèis - formed by oudè, "neither," and  èis, "one," meaning "not one," or "no one and nothing." The verb àiro, instead, means "I take away, I rid of, I delete, I destroy, I raise, I take, I assume, I take on, I undertake." The Akkadian etymology is ba'aru indicates the action of hooking, of tightening the noose. It is a complete, overflowing joy because it comes from the Holy Spirit and it is long lasting because nothing and no one can take it away from us, unlike ephemeral happiness, false enjoyment, false and elusive pleasure given by the satanic complacency. The happiness that Jesus wants to give us is not a promise made to please popular opinion for it is at the very heart of life and survival of our species. Jesus, Yeshua, the Lord of all things, to whom the Father has given all power and knowledge, knows that being happy makes us live longer, knows that getting angry is a bad emotional habit and that worrying about what will be is a dangerous mental activity which facilitates disease and disharmony. He knows that retaining unhappy thoughts of any kind destroys the defense capabilities of our immune system and destroys the balance of the electro-chemical impulses of our nervous system. He knows that the happiness He wants to give us is the very source of humanity’s full health.